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Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

College gallery presents “Dirt and Other Kinds of Poetry”

A photography and text exhibition exploring how we find beauty in the everyday world will be featured in the Antelope Valley College Art Gallery April 21-May 13 with “Dirt and Other Kinds of Poetry.”

While photographers such as Ansel Adams emphasize the heroic and the sublime in their portrayals of landscape, starting in the 1970s, an “anti-Romantic” trend also arose, work often called the New Topography, according to guest curator Charles Hood.  These artists looked at the nature in our own backyards, celebrating smog-ruined trees, tract housing, and even garbage dumps.

The college’s art exhibit will continue that dialogue, but expand it to include literature.  How does a poem or a passage by a famous novelist or even a prize-winning science journalist alter how one sees and understands a landscape photograph?

Using a series of landscape photographs supplied by the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles, this exhibit will alternate image with wall-text panels to create a symphony of word and image. Many of the photographs were taken in and around the Antelope Valley, while the literary texts will come from sources ranging from William Faulkner to urban collections of drug slang. 

“In all, the show will try to make us reconsider the most common thing of all, dirt, and help us to appreciate the wonder and surprise available to us everywhere,” said Hood.

In loaning work to Antelope Valley College, the Center for Land Use Interpretation continues its exploration of New Topography photography, something they last directly worked with in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

In their own words, “Soil can be excavated and mounded, built upon and abandoned, mined and amended. It is a living fabric, an organic skin wrapping the earth’s stone and molten core. Once disturbed it is never the same.” 

This change and evolution means that dirt is never just dirt—it is alive and shifting, as much part of the dynamic of nature as wind, water, and flaming red sunsets.  As guest curator Charles Hood says, “Once you have come to see the Dirt show, dirt will never be just dirt for you ever again.”

The Art Gallery is located at 3041 W. Ave. K, FA1, the Fine Arts Building, in the Fine Arts Quad on the west side of the Antelope Valley College Campus.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Gallery shows are free and open to the public.